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How to Use Big Data and Cloud Computing for Your Business

via business.com: Big data and cloud computing can be used to benefit your small business and drastically increase efficiency.

Big data and cloud computing are two innovations that have changed mainstream technology and the methods in which data are handled. These technologies have changed the outlook of data in such a way that they have served as foundations for many crucial innovations. Let’s have a look at how these two technological advancements complement each other and provide opportunities for organizations to innovate and succeed.

What do big data and cloud bring to the table?
The world runs online. Whatever we do online, we leave data behind us. Whether we’re just surfing the web, using social media, shopping, researching or something else, we leave a trail of date in our wake. A recent survey found that 42 percent of Americans use the internet several times a day, while 21 percent reported being online almost constantly. All this data, when collected and analyzed, gives great insights to various companies, which are leveraged to provide better services and products to consumers. This can lead to revenue increases.

But when such huge quantities of data are collected, it isn’t feasible for companies to store them offline in their own servers. In the U.S. alone, most companies have at least 100 terabytes of stored data. All these companies cannot have individual servers with huge computing power, while also taking care of security and maintenance. That’s where cloud computing comes in. Cloud computing creates affordable and easy storage of data in cloud servers, and the data can be retrieved when requested. Companies that provide such cloud facilities, like Amazon and Google, take care of all work associated with the process and companies can just store data in the cloud.

When the combination of big data and cloud computing was first initiated, it opened the road to endless possibilities. Various fields have seen many drastic changes that were made possible by this combination. It changed the decision-making process for companies and gave a huge advantage to analysts, who could base their results on concrete data.

Offer scalable and cost-effective infrastructure
The introduction of cloud computing platforms has cut down the costs that companies spend on managing and maintaining data. Depending on the budget and need for security, companies can now opt for private cloud options, where internal resources can be stored on the cloud and big data analysis can be implemented from it. Many companies prefer hybrid cloud options in which companies can use on-demand storage spaces while using analytics through public servers. It allows the companies to scale their storage capacity up or down as per their requirements.

Either way, companies do not need to spend huge amounts on the computing power the servers consume as they just need to manage and maintain the data.

Increase productivity
Companies can concentrate on more important things once they gain insights from big data. Leaving all the storage-related activities to cloud-based servers also allows for more time to work on major projects. This drastically increases employee productivity.

Ability for real-time data analysis
Long gone are the days when data were available in a batch. Now, real-time data makes it possible to work efficiently by making use of the current data. Predictive analysis makes sure that companies can know what lies ahead. The faster the analysts can interpret the data and come to actionable conclusions, the better the results.

Quicker data processing
In traditional systems, managing the data took a big chunk of time and companies had to spend extra time on data processing. But now, data processing takes just a few minutes. Any big data analytics platform like Apache Hadoop can be used to combine the unstructured data from social media and combine it with structured data like the original consumer details available.

Data transferring is as simple as clicking a button. Some major cloud servers offer physical transfers of data from their located data center to the cloud center, which is useful when companies are migrating to the cloud for the first time and have a large amount of data stored on physical servers.

Major advantage for small businesses
In the past, only large-scale companies had the capacity and resources to make use of big data. Various cloud computing platforms have allowed small-scale companies to store their data at affordable costs and use the data as efficiently as larger organizations. Small-scale companies can purchase a cloud platform of their choice and start storing and analyzing data without any additional computing charges or responsibilities.

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